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! >> reporter: as water from irene pushed over long island, steve tried desperately to push it back. you have how many people working just this one building? >> we have three people here right now. we have another three people at other properties. we have probably 15 people all together working tonight. >> reporter: the only thing separating the property he manages from a wall of irene-driven water is a sand dune that's holding for now. could you feel like you might be fighting a losing battle here? >> well, this is the reason why we're setting up these pumps now. we're trying to stay ahead of everything. so i have another building i need to go to similar to this building, where we'll set up another pump and try tow stay basically ahead of it. >> reporter: but in low-lying communities like long beach, staying ahead of the water has been a losing battle. floodwaters spilled over the beach here and poured down street after street while irene's strong winds littered neighborhoods with debris. with a mandatory evacuation order in place, the normally bustling summer getaway town was a ghost town w
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